Opinion Editorials, July 2005, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Night Worship on Fridays Not Recommended
Arab News, 9/5/05
Q. A group of people meets every Friday night in the mosque to recite the Qur’an, offer night worship and stay until the dawn prayer. When they have offered the dawn prayer, they depart. Is their practice recommended?
T.H. Samath, Makkah
A. No, their practice is certainly not recommended. In fact it runs contrary to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teachings. Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “Do not single out the night of Friday for special night worship.” (Related by Muslim). This is a clear Hadith that shows that the practice of these people is the very thing the Prophet advised against.
We need to remember that Friday counts as a day of Eid, and the Prophet has made it clear that it should not be singled out for voluntary fasting, unless one wishes to fast a day before it or a day after it. In the same way, Friday night may not be singled out for special prayer or tahajjud. Moreover, staying in the mosque for a whole day is recommended in the last ten days of Ramadan, but not on other days, unless it is something done once in a while.
Q.1. If a person is required to slaughter seven sheep for mistakes done during the pilgrimage, is it sufficient for him to slaughter a cow or a camel?
Q.2. I want to accompany my mother during her pilgrimage. Will it be necessary for me to perform the pilgrimage myself, or can I travel with her in my ordinary clothes, as I have already done my pilgrimage?
Q.3. It is said that God descends to the nearest heaven late in the night. This means that He remains there round the clock as midnight occurs at every moment in one spot or another. Why is it said that God descends, instead of saying that He is always there?
Q.4. Since it is permissible to give interest given by one’s bank to poor people, can one give it to an imam, or to the teacher of an Islamic school if they are very poor?
Q.5. What is the difference between a prophet and a messenger?
Q.6. You said once that it is permissible to have a life insurance policy, but such a policy pays a person more than he pays into it, which I think is interest. Please clarify.
S. Akhtar, Jeddah
A.1. No, it is not permissible to combine atonements in this way, even though it is permissible for seven people to share in the sacrifice of one cow or one camel instead of sacrificing seven sheep. In the latter case, the sacrifice is made to express gratitude to God for enabling us to do the pilgrimage and the Umrah in the same season. In compensatory sacrifice, this is made in atonement for mistakes or omissions. Hence, the better option is preferred, and seven sheep provide more meat to the poor than one camel or one cow. Hence, it cannot be combined.
A.2. You may choose to accompany your mother without offering the pilgrimage yourself. However, it is infinitely better for you to offer the pilgrimage as this would count as a Sunnah pilgrimage. You will be accompanying your mother throughout, attending at all places, and taking her to do all her rituals. You may just as well fulfill the same duties at the same time, unless your mother requires extra care and you will be better able to look after her if you do not do the pilgrimage. In this case, you are better advised not to do the pilgrimage.
A.3. We do not know how God descends or comes near to the lowest heaven. What we know is that time and place do not apply to God, because He transcends these. All that is related to God belongs to the realm that is beyond the reach of human perception. However, it is expressed in terms that we can understand. We accept these as they are, but we do not actually know how they happen. Therefore, it is wrong to say that God is always close to the earth, because this means that a place or space applies to Him. However, He is always close to us, watching over us, and watching us. He says that He is closer to every one of us than our jugular veins.
A.4. If the imam or the teacher are poor as you say, then it is permissible to help them with the interest paid by the bank in addition to helping them with sadaqah and zakah.
A.5. A messenger is a prophet who is given a message to deliver to his people, or to mankind, as in the case of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A prophet may not have a message of his own, but rather he endorses the message of an earlier or contemporary messenger.
A.6. Life insurance policies pay on maturity more than the amount paid into them because the premiums paid by the insured are invested by the insurance company. Therefore, it is important to know in what ways the insurance company invests its customers’ money. If it invests them in usurious transactions, one should not take that policy. If it invests in commercial enterprises, this is perfectly legitimate.
Answer to Mr. M. A. Muddather
Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi wrote an introduction to Al-Kandahlawi’s book, Hayat Al-Sahabah, or the Life of the Prophet’s Companions, in which he praises both the book and its author in clear terms. In fact, it is his clear support that has weighed with us in favor of the book and its author.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.